This is the Secret to Making Your New Year’s Resolutions Happen

by Jessica Brita-Segyde

It’s often been said that the New Year’s Resolution should be called the “January Resolution.” Perhaps this is because so many good intentions go down the drain after just a month. If you want to keep your resolve well past the 30 day mark this year, do what CEO’s, athletes, and other top performers use to stay on track. This one secret could be your key to resolution success:

Write down your goals.

Use a real pen and paper two write your goals down. Then, put your list in a place you’ll see every day and rewrite as needed. This concept goes just a bit beyond writing down the resolution itself. A New Year’s Resolution likely involves a series of steps that you’ll need to practice in the shorter-term. Treat each step toward your resolution as a smaller goal of its own. Write them down, look at them each day, and when you complete a goal check it off. If your goals need repeating or tweaking to achieve your overall resolution, then modify as you go.

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Following are some examples of common New Year’s Resolutions and the goals they might involve:

Lose Weight/Gain Muscle

  • Read a book on nutrition and fitness by January 31.
  • Run 3 miles per week.
  • Attend one fitness class per week at local gym or YMCA (all year).
  • Cook more than 50% of meals at home (all year).
  • Achieve 20% reduction in Body Mass Index (BMI) by June 30.
  • Begin running 4 miles per week effective July 1.
  • Re-assess BMI on October 31.

Take a Vacation

  • Request time off work.
  • Open vacation checking account first week of January.
  • Have travel arrangements scheduled by February 1.
  • Save $X per week until vacation begins.
  • Continue saving $X per week for next year’s vacation.

Save for Retirement

  • Attend meeting with financial advisor or company’s 401(k) representative before March 31.
  • Read a book on retirement basics before the meeting.
  • Commit to automatic withholding of 1% more income (or 1% total if not yet investing).

Be More Grateful

  • Write one thank-you note per week.
  • End each day by acknowledging one blessing.
  • Volunteer once per month for at least two hours.

It Really Works

Research indicates that putting one’s goals into writing increases the likelihood of successful completion. In other words, it really works. According to a 2018 article in Forbes Magazine, the writing of goals activates a neurological process called “encoding.” This increases the likelihood that goals will be remembered later in the day, week, or year. (author: Mark Murphy)

In addition to scientific support, much anecdotal support exists in favor of writing one’s goals to achieve a resolution. The late self-improvement guru Jim Rohn spoke on the subject as far back as the 1960s. If you need motivation to continue pursuing your goals, check out Rohn’s extensive offering of books and recordings. Other influential, old-school authors on the subject of goals are Og Mandino and Brian Tracy.

Try writing your resolution and the related goals down this time around. You’ll be much more likely to stay the course and keep your resolution. Happy New Year!

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